The name game

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Third time’s the charm, right? Then why does it seem to be much more difficult this round? We have worked really hard to find good, unique, yet not too obscure or out there names- both of which we really like. Now we have to keep the ball rolling. We can’t have an Araiya, Tallis and a Joe or Jennifer. Well, maybe it would just be a little strange. Not that I am opposed to traditional names, I just wanted something uncommon enough, yet classy, so they wouldn’t have to also be referred to by the initial of their last name in school. Something rare and unheard of, but not ridiculously odd. Each time we have added to the scribbles on the front page of this volume of baby names. From the scribble page created a short list. Then when the babies were each born, decided ‘she’s a _______’ and paired a first and middle name. We have plenty of unused options. Many of which are darn good names. So why am I still flipping through the hundreds of pages mulling over each of the 94,000 names in this book? Haven’t I done that enough already? There is a lot of pressure to come up with a Third good name.

I also find myself pushing off into more obscure names, one’s the sound part of my mind would never have given a second thought. One’s that I later think, oh heck no, that poor kid would get so heckled on the playground when the other kids are like, your name’s what? I try to test them, play the name game a bit. I always hated mine- Nat, Nat bo Bat, banana-fanna-fo FAT… (you get it)… Ariaya, Riya bo Baya, banana-fanna-fo Fya, me-my mo Maya… Tallis, Tallis bo Ballis, banana-fanna-fo Fallis, me-my mo Mallis, Tallis (Buck would be a bad choice for that game). Also what nicknames would this name turn into? Araiya could be Riya, Tallis could be Tal, that is cute. Or what names it would be mistaken for? One on our first list was Cademon, we told someone and they responded, why would you name your kid Caveman? Araiya often is heard as Mariah. The names had to be believable too, they have to sound like real names. I played soccer in High School with a girl everyone called Pepper. I assumed it was a nickname. It wasn’t. Many constraints to keep it real but not too far off reality.

This morning I came across this excerpt from this article, A boy named Sue, and a Theory of names, in the New York Times regarding bad baby names:

Studies showed that children with odd names got worse grades and were less popular than other classmates in elementary school. In college they were more likely to flunk out or become “psychoneurotic.” Prospective bosses spurned their résumés. They were overrepresented among emotionally disturbed children and psychiatric patients.

AHH! Of course, I think you could classify my kid’s names as ‘odd’. They haven’t been in the top 100 in the last Century or anything. Not cool to think the names we pick could put them at a disadvantage later in life. So I read the rest of the article. Turns out they are talking about REALLY bad odd names. The kind you would get from the Simpson’s. Like Semore Butts. or I.P. Freely. My mom new a family growing up who’s kids were named Sandy, Sunny and Wendy- last name Beach. Not as much need for concern as I was first led to believe. Sigh of relief. Some parts of the article actually were encouraging to uncommon names:

“They were very proud of their names, almost overly proud,” Mr. Sherrod said.

Good. I want them to be proud of the names they are given. I think we have worked darn had to pick names, and even through the pressure of finding the perfect name, there is a sense of pride even on my part that my kids have cool names. Guess we are on the right track.

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~ by gdesign on March 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “The name game”

  1. Hey! I’m the co-author of the book that NYT article is about. It’s called Bad Baby Names and it talks about crazy names people have really named their kids and which show up in census documents. If it shows one thing, it’s that no matter what you named your kid, some other kid has it worse. Not sure if that helps or not. Anyway, if you or your readers want to get a chuckle out of some other wacky names, check out my blog: http://www.badbabynames.net.

  2. What caught my eye was the “third time” thing. Our first was named before we conceived her, our second was named on the spot (we had a girl name picked and it turned out he was a boy). Our third one we could not figure out a name. It took us two days in the hospital before we finally decided. That was okay with us but drove everyone else crazy. My grandma even named him Joshua on her own since she wanted him to have a name so badly. We finally decided on Jonas.
    Anway, thanks for sharing.

  3. We try very hard to find good names, the hardest part is to find a name we both like.

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